According to David F. D’Alessandro, author of Career Warfare: Pick Your Battles and Live to Get Promoted Another Day, the best way to establish a personal brand when you are new to an organization is by becoming uniquely useful. Be smart. Stake out your territory by finding something the organization is missing that you can provide. This may involve tackling less-than-glamorous tasks since the high-profile ones get plenty of volunteers. By doing what needs to be done rather than what you would ideally like to do, you set yourself apart. Do something humble but essential, and you’ll get noticed by those in power.
Getting the positive notice of powerful people is only the first step though. You want them to help you move up. To be considered for higher office you must develop a reputation for five key qualities, according to D’Alessandro:
- Get yourself into a production or development job where you can be credited directly for improving the bottom line. If you generate revenue for the company, the people in charge will listen.
- Be honest. A reputation for dishonesty is a career-ender.
- Be discreet. If you aren’t, no one with any power will trust you. Don’t gossip and don’t say anything in public or even in an email that puts your company, employees or customers in a bad light. Do not write or record anything you wouldn’t want published.
- Always deliver on time. If you overpromise and underdeliver you won’t be trusted. On the other hand, showing you can do what other people can’t, will propel you up the ladder. To elevate your personal brand, make bold promises and deliver.
- You must be able to manage people effectively. Rise high enough, and you move from managing projects to managing people who manage projects. Eventually you will manage people across disciplines. Your ability to get things done through others becomes what you get paid for.